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Elderly Person From Lexington County Is First Coronavirus Death In South Carolina

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An elderly person from Lexington County is South Carolina’s first person to die from COVID-19, the South Carolina Department Department of Health and Environmental Services (SCDHEC) reported Monday.

The person was from Lexington County and was a resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility, DHEC said.

SCDHEC said they are working with the facility “to identify all contacts and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread.”

”This is a rapidly evolving public health event, and DHEC takes every new infectious disease seriously,” Brannon Traxler, SDHEC physician consultant, said. “This is an example of the importance of taking precautions to protect those at higher risk, like the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions.”

Since Friday, DHEC has restricted visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

South Carolina’s first coronavirus death was announced just a day after governor Henry McMaster announced the statewide closure of government-run schools – and as leaders in the S.C. General Assembly debating closing down the S.C. State House.

“South Carolinians must continue to support each other through prayer, through common sense, by taking precautions and by demonstrating courtesy and compassion,” McMaster tweeted on Monday in response to the news of the state’s first coronavirus death.

Several people on social media are calling on the governor to implement stricter laws to ensure people are practicing social distancing.

On Sunday, McMaster asked that public gatherings, indoors and outdoors, be limited to 100 people or less. On Sunday evening, CDC officials urged for people in the U.S. to cancel their events with 50 people or more over the next eight weeks.

South Carolina public health officials announced on Sunday that they were investigating nine new cases of the 2019-2020 coronavirus. The new cases brings the statewide total of positive or “presumptive positive” tests associated with the global pandemic to 28.

Kershaw County — particularly the small town of Camden, South Carolina with a population of 7,000 — has been a hotspot for the illness with by far the most cases in the state. Here is a breakdown of what counties those cases are in:

  • Kershaw County: 14
  • Horry County : 3
  • Beaufort County: 3
  • Lancaster County: 2
  • Anderson County: 2
  • Charleston County: 1
  • Greenville County: 1
  • Lexington County: 1
  • Spartanburg County: 1

South Carolina has tested 268 people for COVID-19 and 235 tests have been negative.

Cases have been sharply increasing since Friday when SCDHEC announced that tests would be more widely available. 15 of the 28 cases were reported between Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, DHEC officials said their lab had  enough supplies to test 2,000 coronavirus samples — up to 80 to 100 a day “with the ability to double or triple that number as needed.”

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Visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 for instructions on how to access a medical professional through your phone or computer without having to go to the doctor’s office.

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SCDHEC urged South Carolinians with general questions about coronavirus to visit scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here. The agency has also established a coronavirus call line at 1-855-472-3432.

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